Fox Hollow Vineyards has only been open since 2016, but the Casola family has been farming in Monmouth County for six generations. Located just 14 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, this rustic location in Holmdel is the perfect place to sip some vino, have a little food and listen to some great music. A warm sunny late afternoon was the perfect time to do just that and member band, Jump Back, led by JSJBF board member Wayne Kessler on guitar, harp and vocals, fellow board member John Dammacco on bass, Jack Piccolomini on vocals and guitar and Emilio Ramil on vocals and drums certainly filled the bill. While we weren’t able to make the first set, there was a good size crowd listening to them when we arrived with our good friends and Foundation members, Roberta and Raleigh Truitt. We walked in to the sounds of Muddy Waters’ most famous song, “Hoochie Coochie Man,” but this was no rote rendition, which I’ve heard many times. Much to the delight of the crowd, this version morphed into a searing take on ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” While we were in a fairly lengthy line waiting to order, (serves us right for not getting there early) and there is no table service, the band launched into a terrific take on Nick Gravenites’ “Born in Chicago,” first recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1965. That was followed by B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby,” which released a year earlier.
After getting our drinks, we proceeded to the patio and Wayne spotted me just in time for a shout out as they launched into the aptly titled original number, “Can I Play the Blues.” Next up was a song made famous by Junior Wells, “Messin’ with the Kid” with Wayne on vocals. “Evil Might Win” was another strong original sung by Wayne, and the set ended with “The Sting,” not from the movie, but the band’s own song, sung by the drummer Emilio.
The final set began with Emilio pounding out the unmistakable Bo Diddley beat as the band tore into a spirited rendition of “Who Do You Love.” “Excuse Me Please” was another original that fit seamlessly with the well chosen covers. The mighty Zep’s “Rock n’ Roll” was given a slow blues feel that really worked. One of the highlights for me was the pairing of the Temptation’s “Shaky Ground” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” which worked well together and was appreciated by those in attendance. “Further on up the Road,” a Bobby “Blue“ Bland composition, was highlighted by Wayne’s channeling of the Booker T “Green Onions” organ riff on his guitar. The often covered Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” was done in a shuffle, which contrasted nicely to the version done by Cream. The Big Joe Turner classic, “Shake, Rattle & Roll,” was done in the original style, demonstrating that when done well, a seventy-year old tune can still sound fresh today. They ended the day with Jimi Hendrix’s “Come On,” featuring an understated solo by Jack and carried along by the excellent rhythm section of John D’s bass and Emilio’s drums. I also must give some props to soundman and JSJBF member Michael Feniello who made it sound as good as it could be. Be sure to check out Jump Back when they come to a venue near you.
More info on www.JumpBackBand.com